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Moving the goal posts of sport, from Paris to beyond

Moving the goal posts of sport, from Paris to beyond

APELS, a French organisation promoting a social vision of sport based on education, solidarity and community, is currently working to organise the Educasport World Forum. sportanddev spoke to Jean-Philippe Acensi, general delegate of APELS.

The Agency for Education through Sport

For the past 15 years, the Agency for Education through Sport (APELS) has been working to defend a social vision of sport based on education, solidarity and community.

As Jean-Philippe Acensi, general delegate of APELS, explains: ‘We are an association which defends a social vision of sport based on education, solidarity and community. As the only organisation of this sort currently active in France, we work alongside practitioners who dedicate themselves to improving people’s social and professional situations through their engagement in physical activity.

APELS’s involvement with sport aims to improve people’s lives, promoting entry onto the jobs market, social integration, youth education, a sense of community, and public health. To date, 1000 APELS initiatives have received prizes or offered funding.

‘Education through Sport’
In the current social context, APELS considers it is essential that we begin to think differently about sport and how it can be practiced.

"Throughout the world, an involvement in sport is proving itself to be increasingly valuable as a means of dealing with the major challenges of society," explains Jean-Philippe. "Sport can be a means of promoting youth integration, public health, and social cohesion, and plays an important role in the fight against obesity."

By ‘Education through Sport’, APELS are referring to the many ways in which this issue can be approached. This includes the need to consider the use of specific places to promote health, ways in which associations might be encouraged to have a closer relationship with their immediate environment, a reappropriation of public spaces (particularly for young people), the latest resources available in the field, new professional roles which may have emerged, and the need for exchange between the so-called developed and non-developed worlds.

‘Educasport Monde,’ and this year’s forum
The Educasport World Forum provides a great opportunity for practitioners around the world to share and discuss their innovative practices within ‘Education Through Sport.’ It is where ideas, however small, can be recognised and be given the chance to grow.

APELS are currently working to organise the next forum in Paris, where enthusiastic practioners would come together in the prestigious Roland Garros building and the Salons de l’Hôtel de Ville.

"This has already sparked great excitement online," says Jean-Philippe Acensi, General delegate of the Agency for Education through Sport. "Many organisations have expressed the wish to be involved, and we were overwhelmed with responses from the call for papers sent out in spring." 

As it stands, APELS has received more than 180 projects from 5 continents. The majority of these initiatives came from annonymous local practitioners, young researchers, towns, associations and academic institutions who have been working enthusiastically on innovative projects which use sport as a means for learning and developement. This unique event will bring together over 800 participants,  80 speakers and 40 countries, and will take place on the 27-29 November this year.

"We hope to bring together the largest number of participants possible’, says Jean-Philippe. "Our aim is simple : to spread good practices, to reflect together on the projects proposed, and celebrate the work of these anonymous new partners whose work stands as an inspiration, creating new paths of friendship and solidarity between practitioners."

[All quotations have been translated from French.]


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Beth Davyson


Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 12:15